How to Permanently Remove Grubs from Your Lawn

Do you have brown, patchy grass? If that's the case, grubs might be to blame. An infestation of grubs can kill your grass if you don't take care of it. You will not be subjected to these nuisances indefinitely. For homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area, Smith's Pest Management

Do you have brown, patchy grass?

If that's the case, grubs might be to blame.

An infestation of grubs can kill your grass if you don't take care of it. You will not be subjected to these nuisances indefinitely.

For homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area, Smith's Pest Management offers grub control services.

In this post, we'll go over some of the best methods we've found for eliminating grubs from your yard, garden, flowerbeds, and outdoor containers. You can also use these methods to get rid of fleas and chiggers in your yard.

When and how do grubs cause damage to lawns?

grub lifecycle

The larvae of many kinds of beetles, such as Japanese beetles, June beetles, and European chafers, are called grubs.

The bodies of these pests are mushy and white, and they have a pair of legs right next to their tiny little heads. They form a C when startled.

During the colder months, grubs hibernate, but once the weather warms up, they become active again. Grubs, which are most active in the spring and early summer, cause significant damage to grass and other plants by feeding on their roots.

Adult beetles, such as those that feed on lawn grubs, emerge from the ground to find a mate and start a new generation. Life expectancy of adult beetles is between one and three years.

In July and August, adult beetles lay their eggs close to their feeding sites, spawning grubs that tunnel into the soil and eat the grass roots.

The good news is that grubs can be managed through the use of techniques like milky spore disease, which we'll go into more detail about later on in this post.

Here are 6 Telltale Signs That Grubs Have Destroyed Your Grass

grub damage to lawn

If you are unsure as to whether or not grubs exist in your yard,

If you want to know for sure if you have grub damage, here are some telltale signs:

  1. Dying grass As grubs eat their way through turfgrass's roots, the grass becomes mushy and yellow. It can be rolled back like a carpet if you pull on it.
  2. Other species of pests are present. Pests like skunks, raccoons, and moles will dig up your lawn in search of grubs, which they eat with relish. Damage like this can be just as difficult and expensive to fix as grub damage.
  3. Rising populations of insects like moths and beetles Lots of flying moths or beetles near ground level could mean you have a grub infestation.
  4. The onset of a dry spell Grubs could be the cause of your yard's "drought" appearance, even if you've been watering it regularly. As misleading as it may be, despite appearances, grub damage cannot be remedied by watering.
  5. Grass with brown spots Grass turns brown and patchy before it turns yellow and pulls up. Instances of this damage will crop up in various places across the lawn.
  6. When white grubs are present, Cut a square foot of turf between 2 and 4 inches deep using a spade. Lift the square and look at the ground underneath it. Even if you haven't noticed any damage to your lawn, a grub infestation is a certainty if you see the little critters.

Due to its similarity to other forms of damage, such as that caused by drought, grub damage can be difficult to spot.

By contrast, if you keep an eye out for these six signs, you can put a stop to grub damage before it even begins!

Natural Remedies for Controlling Grubs in Your Yard

grub treatment options beneficial nematodes

Getting rid of grubs in your yard without using toxic pesticides is probably something you're interested in learning more about.

There are choices available to you.

Some strategies we suggest are as follows:

One, let the bugs' natural enemies feast on the grubs.

Natural enemies of grubs are abundant. Several predators can cause extensive damage to your yard, but others won't.

To give just a few examples, birds like chickadees, blue jays, and robins absolutely adore grubs and will happily snack on them all day long if given the chance. Chickens in the yard can forage for grubs and other pests as well.

If you want to use birds as a natural method of grub control, you should make your yard as appealing to birds as possible.

Put out bird seed, water, and nesting boxes, and put up birdhouses. Having these birds around will help control the grub population in your yard.

Easy, non-toxic, and pet- and kid-friendly are just a few of the benefits.

Birds can cause harm to gardens and containers, which can be a problem for growing food.  

Second, control the amount of moisture in the air.

Slugs and grubs can't make it without a steady supply of water. Therefore, an artificial drought is a simple method to reduce their numbers.

Stop watering your lawn for a few weeks in the middle of July if it can survive a dry spell and bounce back once you start watering again. This will eliminate the grub population by destroying the eggs and juveniles.

Easy and safe to use  

Lawns can't survive without regular watering, so this strategy will only work if your outdoor space isn't getting any moisture from the sky.  

Incorporate milky spore into your formula.

Japanese beetles' larvae are particularly susceptible to milky spore, a bacterial disease. As a natural, eco-friendly alternative, milky spore is highly effective at reducing white grub populations.

You can get milky spore from any home and garden store and spread it around your yard with a cheap milky spore dispenser.

Apply milky spore a few times a year for two to three years for the best results. Following completion of the treatment plan, the milky spore will serve as a biological control for 15–20 years.

In order to successfully employ milky spore, it is necessary to pay close attention to a wide range of environmental factors, such as temperature, moisture, soil structure, pH, and soil type.

As the spores' development time increases with temperature, soil temperature becomes an increasingly important factor. Soil temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for spore development.

Also, keep in mind that the presence of grubs in the soil is necessary for the spread of milky spore. Increasing the number of grubs will hasten the spread of the milky spore.

Advantages: low cost and simple implementation  

Cons: It can take 2-3 years for spores to build up to become effective pest control; milky spore only kills Japanese beetle grubs; product variability, soil temperature and conditions, and grub resistance all affect milky spore disease's efficacy.

4. Apply neem oil or Azadirachtin

Neem oil contains the active ingredient azadirachtin. Many people mistakenly believe that neem oil and Azadirachtin are the same thing; however, neem oil contains only trace amounts of Azadirachtin.

People typically purchase Azadirachtin in a concentrated form for use on their lawns. One study found that five times the recommended rate of Azadirachtin was effective in killing Japanese beetles on Kentucky bluegrass.

One more method of pest control is neem oil. In order to prevent the grubs from consuming food, growing, and reproducing, you can use pure neem oil. If you follow the instructions on the bottle, you can dilute neem oil with water and spray it on the affected areas.

Azadirachtin is "relatively non-toxic" (meaning it presents low toxicity to biocontrol agents, predators, and parasitoids) and neem oil is "non-toxic," meaning it won't harm people or non-target organisms, and both are inexpensive.   

Although effective at eliminating Japanese beetle larvae, Azadirachtin does not kill adult beetles or prevent them from laying eggs, and both neem oil and Azadirachtin need to be reapplied frequently.  

5. Release helpful nematodes

As a type of tiny parasitic worm, nematodes can be used to effectively combat grubs and other common garden pests.

Beneficial nematodes are a common, pet-friendly alternative to the use of milky spore disease for grub control. Beneficial nematodes can be found at any garden or hardware store.

Nematodes should be applied to your yard as soon as possible after purchase (according to the instructions included with the nematodes).

They are most effective when applied in the early morning or late afternoon, and should not be placed in direct sunlight.

In order to maintain a healthy population of nematodes, it is recommended to apply a new batch once or twice yearly for three years after the initial application.

Advantages: It has potential, and it's a permanent fix.  

Negatives: Ground-controlling nematodes need to be alive and shipped refrigerated; once opened, nematodes need to be used right away; the application sprayer needs to be very clean and free of any other chemical residues from previous applications; if the lawn has been treated with insecticide in the past year, there's a risk that the nematodes won't be effective. Nematodes take a long time to become established, so there is a good chance that residual insecticide could harm or kill them.

Recipe #6: Borax Grub Killer

The grubs can be killed with borax, which is a common cleaning product.

However, it's important to keep in mind that borax contains boron, which, when left to accumulate in the soil, can be fatal to your lawn. Therefore, this strategy should be employed infrequently, if at all.

Put one tablespoon of borax into a spray bottle full of warm water. Liberally spray the area where grubs have been spotted.

Advantages: Good for short-term use  

The use of Borax grub killer can be detrimental to plants if done so excessively or in sensitive areas such as flowerbeds or vegetable gardens.  

Seven, aerate and dethatch your grass.

Lawns that have been dethatched and aerated are less enticing to grubs. Grubs thrive in thick layers of thatch and compacted soil, so reducing those conditions and aerating the lawn makes it less inviting to the pests.

Furthermore, these techniques facilitate the spread of milky spore disease, nematodes, and other natural solutions to the grubs below the lawn's surface, where they can do the most damage and kill them quickly.  

Pros: It's harmless, efficient, and good for the grass.

Negatives: It's a lot of work Failed to eliminate grubs  

Traditional Methods of Controlling Grubs

Here's some good news: there's an easy way to get rid of grubs.

Carbaryl and trichlorfon are the two main chemicals used to control lawn grub populations.

When large numbers of grubs are present in the autumn or early spring (before May), either method is an effective solution.

There is evidence that these compounds, when applied in September, can kill 20-80% of grubs and, when applied in late October, can kill 20-55% of grubs.

I'll explain each in turn:


Carbaryl is an effective grub killer because it is a short-lived carbamate compound. The European chafer grub, for example, is resistant to trichlorfon, but new evidence suggests that carbaryl may be slightly more effective at killing grubs.

Ten to fourteen days after application, carbaryl starts killing grubs. Carbaryl has been shown to be toxic to honeybees and other species of bees; as a result, its use should be strictly regulated to professional pest control services.


In as little as one to three days, trichlorfon's organophosphate poisonousness to grubs begins to take effect. After 7-10 days, the chemical is no longer effective. Trichlorfon, like carbaryl, is most effective when used in the early spring or late fall.

What About Cancer-Preventing Drugs?

Carbaryl and trichlorfon are two insecticides commonly used to control grub populations. But, they are most effective when used in tandem with preventative measures.

When applied in June or July and watered with at least 0 percent of the product's active ingredient, products containing imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, or clothianidin, for example, will reduce lawn grubs by 75-100%. watering at a depth of 5" right after application

When it comes to getting rid of grubs in your lawn, how do the pros do it?

grub control expert

If you have grubs in your lawn, you should think about hiring our experts to help.

What to expect from our procedure is as follows:

Primary Diagnosis

Our grub treatment service begins with a thorough inspection of your property. We will inspect your property, dig up some of the bedding areas, and sort through the soil to confirm the presence of grubs and identify the species.

Any animal damage to the lawn, such as that from raccoons or skunks, is also thoroughly inspected for signs of grub infestation.

Modality 2: Therapy

Once we've confirmed that grubs are present, we can decide how to best eliminate them. Potential treatments include a liquid systemic insect product, milky spore fungus, and beneficial nematodes.

We guarantee that you will receive the most effective treatment for lawn grubs possible, regardless of which method we suggest.

To ensure the product is properly absorbed into the soil, we ask that you refrain from using the lawn during and after the treatment.

In an effort to speed things up, we'll be using your irrigation system for roughly 20 minutes. If the grass has dried, the area can be used as usual.

Third, Treatment-Related Follow-Up

We will then suggest additional treatments to eliminate grubs at various stages of their development. Since adults of the Japanese beetle return each year to lay eggs, we advise that you give your home a once-over every year.

A Guide to Treating Lawn Grubs

grub questions FAQs

When should you spray for grubs?

There are two times of year, early spring and late summer, when you should apply grub control agents to your lawn: when you see signs of increased grub activity.

However, before the grubs hatch in July, preventative treatments should be applied in the months of June and July.

Two: Will Grass Grow Back If Grubs Are Gone?

The grass should be reseeded in areas where grubs have caused damage.

Until the grass is at least two to three inches tall, it should be given a light watering, overseeded with a high-quality turfgrass mixture, and kept free of pets and children.

How do I distinguish between fungus and grubs?

Warmer temperatures bring out the worst in grub damage. Conversely, when temperatures are unstable, fungal damage is more likely to occur.

Grab a patch of sick grass and pull on it gently to see if you can feel any grubs or mold. Because fungi can't kill roots, grub damage is more likely if the roots are gone.

4.Will grubs disappear on their own or die off during the winter?

Regrettably, no

By late summer, grubs have hatched and begun to eat. When fall arrives, the grubs emerge from their eggs and continue growing until midwinter, when they burrow deeper into the soil to avoid the cold.

Is Your San Francisco Bay Area Lawn Being Overrun By Grubs? Assisting Is What We Do Best

Yards severely damaged by grubs. You can finally do something about those brown, dead spots!

Smith's Pest Management has the expertise to eliminate grubs from your Bay Area lawn, garden, and flower beds.

We will eradicate the grubs and bring back the lush greenery of your yard using both conventional and environmentally friendly methods.

In order to arrange for a pest control inspection or to receive a no-obligation price quote, please get in touch with us today.

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